BBC ISWOTY Award: Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik nominatedtext_fields
Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have been nominated for the BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year award. Both of them recently staged a protest against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and accused him of sexual exploitation and intimidation. The public voting process will begin on Monday and go on till February 20 at midnight. The winner will be announced on March 5.
Three other sportswomen who are nominated for the prestigious award are Tokyo Olympics silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, ace shuttler PV Sindhu and boxer Nikhat Zareen. The panel of jury consisting of sports journalists and writers voted for players based on their achievements.
Rupa Jha, the Head of India BBC News, said a new category - BBC Indian para-sportswoman of the year - has been created. The 2018 Asian para Games gold medallist Ekta Bhyan welcomed the move and emphasised the need to make the stadiums more accessible to physically challenged athletes.
She said: "The stadiums and swimming pools should be accessible easily for disabled athletes. Mental barriers need to be broken, about 60 to 70 percent of the disabled population is still restricted to homes. More awareness and work are required at the grassroots level. Sports should be a part of education. Why should disabled athletes start their careers at the age of 15 or 16, sport should be accessible to them much earlier and there should be a comprehensive and non-discriminatory policy for the disabled."
London Olympics bronze-winning boxer Vijender Singh also welcomed the new category and said omen athletes are two steps ahead of their male counterparts and deserve respect more than the awards.